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Smokers cough

Smokers cough: Introduction

Coughing is a protective reaction of the body to the toxins in cigarette smoke, which irritate the respiratory tract and lungs. A dry, irritated cough can occur when inhaling smoke but it stops shortly after the smoke has been coughed out of the lungs.

In contrast, a smoker's cough is due to long-term smoking, which causes damage and destruction of the protective cilia of the respiratory tract. Cilia are hair-like structures that sweep harmful substances out of the lungs. Cilia that are damaged or destroyed can no longer sweep harmful substances, such as dust, bacteria, and viruses out of the lung. This leads to a build-up of mucus mixed with these substances in the respiratory tract, which the body tires to clear by coughing.

Despite the effort of the smoke's cough to clear the respiratory tract, long-term smoking leads to an increased risk of developing pneumonia and acute bronchitis, due to the build-up of viruses and bacteria in the respiratory tract. A smoker's cough is generally a wet cough that is productive of phlegm, which can be clear, white, yellow-green or blood tinged.

A smoker's cough can also develop due to chronic bronchitis. Chronic bronchitis is a progressive, recurring inflammation of the lungs, most often due to the damage that long-term smoking causes to the lungs. Chronic bronchitis causes the production of an abnormally large amount of mucus, which can block airways, resulting in a smoker's cough. For more information about symptoms and complications, refer to symptoms of smoker's cough.

Making a diagnosis of smoker's cough and/or acute bronchitis and/or chronic bronchitis begins with taking a thorough medical history, including symptoms and smoking history. A physical examination is also performed and includes listening with a stethoscope to the sounds that lungs make during respiration. Lung sounds that may point to an underlying diagnosis of bronchitis include wheezing and crackling sounds that can go away temporarily after coughing. There may also be decreased lung sounds.

In some cases, diagnostic testing can include lung function tests, such as a spirometry, which measures how much air is moved in and out of the lungs. A chest X-ray and CT scan of the chest can evaluate such factors as the presence of other conditions that may occur with long-term smoking and bronchitis, such as pneumonia and congestive heart failure. If there is severe shortness of breath, an arterial blood gas may be done. In this test a sample of blood is taken from an artery and tested for many parameters of effective respiration, including the oxygen level in the blood.

It is possible that a diagnosis of smoker's cough and/or chronic bronchitis and/or acute bronchitis can be missed or delayed because some symptoms are similar to symptoms of other diseases and conditions. For more information conditions and diseases that can mimic smoker's cough and bronchitis, refer to misdiagnosis of smoker's cough.

The only cure for smoker's cough is quitting smoking or smoking cessation. For more information on treatment and smoking cessation, refer to treatment of smoker's cough....more »

Smokers cough: Misdiagnosis

A diagnosis of smokers cough and underlying chronic bronchitis or acute bronchitis may be delayed or missed because some symptoms, are similar to symptoms of other diseases. These include upper respiratory infection, influenza, lung cancer, and pneumonia.

A diagnosis of chronic bronchitis may be delayed or missed because the symptoms generally ...more misdiagnosis »

Home Diagnostic Testing and Smokers cough

Home medical tests possibly related to Smokers cough:

Smokers cough: Symptom Checker

Listed below are some combinations of symptoms associated with Smokers cough, as listed in our database. Visit the Symptom Checker, to add and remove symptoms and research your condition.

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Smokers cough Treatments

A smoker's cough can be cured in many cases by quitting smoking or smoking cessation. The longer a person smokes, the harder it might be to quit and more likely that permanent damage may be done to the lungs resulting in such complications as lung cancer, chronic bronchitis, and other forms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, such as emphysema.

Smoking ...Smokers cough Treatments

Some of the possible treatments listed in sources for treatment of Smokers cough may include:

  • Quit smoking
  • Stop smoking. Cessation of smoking can initially cause an increase in coughing as the cilia which clear the airways start to work properly again
  • more treatments...»

Review further information on Smokers cough Treatments.

Smokers cough: Animations

Smokers cough: Comorbid Symptoms

Some of the comorbid or associated medical symptoms for Smokers cough may include these symptoms:

Causes of General Symptom Types

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Research the causes of related medical symptoms such as:

Causes of Similar Symptoms to Smokers cough

Research the causes of these symptoms that are similar to, or related to, the symptom Smokers cough:

Smokers cough: Deaths

Read more about causes and Smokers cough deaths.

Misdiagnosis and Smokers cough

Sinusitis is overdiagnosed: There is a tendency to give a diagnosis of sinusitis, when the condition is really a harmless complication of more »

Whooping cough often undiagnosed: Although most children in the Western world have been immunized against whooping cough (also called "pertussis"), this protection wears off after about 15 years. Thus, any teen or adult with more »

Chronic lung diseases hard to diagnose: Some of the chronic lung diseases are difficult to diagnose. Even the well-knowns conditions such as asthma or lung more »

Smokers cough: Research Related Doctors & Specialists

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Hospitals & Clinics: Smokers cough

Research extensive quality ratings and patient safety measures for hospitals, clinics and medical facilities in health specialties related to Smokers cough:

Smokers cough: Related Rare Diseases

Rare types of medical conditions and diseases in related medical categories:

Smokers cough: Undiagnosed Conditions

Conditions that are commonly undiagnosed in related areas may include:

Detailed list of causes of Smokers cough

The list below shows some of the causes of Smokers cough mentioned in various sources:

How Common are these Causes of Smokers cough?

This information refers to the general prevalence and incidence of these diseases, not to how likely they are to be the actual cause of Smokers cough. Of the 17 causes of Smokers cough that we have listed, we have the following prevalence/incidence information:

  • 3 causes are "very common" diseases
  • 1 causes are "common" diseases
  • 0 causes are "uncommon" diseases
  • 0 causes are "rare" diseases
  • 4 causes are "very rare" diseases
  • 11 causes have no prevalence information.

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Smokers cough:

The following list of conditions have 'Smokers cough' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Smokers cough or choose View All.

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Classifications of Smokers cough:

Medical Conditions associated with Smokers cough:

Throat symptoms (3410 causes), Respiratory tract symptoms (5166 causes), Mouth symptoms (6864 causes), Head symptoms (10192 causes), Cough symptoms (1407 causes), Lung symptoms (3280 causes), Common symptoms (8589 causes), Body symptoms (5672 causes), Breathing symptoms (3381 causes), Breath symptoms (3023 causes), Face symptoms (8109 causes)

Symptoms related to Smokers cough:

COPD, Chronic bronchitis (19 causes), Emphysema, Asthma (320 causes), Tuberculosis, Lung cancer (29 causes), Hemoptysis (176 causes), Fever (2274 causes), Laryngitis (23 causes), Pharyngitis (46 causes)

Medical articles on signs and symptoms:

Doctor-patient articles related to symptoms and diagnosis:

These general medical articles may be of interest:

Related medical articles from our Disease Center for Smokers cough:

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